Reviews

  • "Portrays Holbrooke in all of his endearing and exasperating self-willed glory... Both a sweeping diplomatic history and a Shakespearean tragicomedy… Our Man not only revitalizes but in some ways reinvents the art of journalistic biography… If you could read only one book to comprehend America’s foreign policy and its quixotic forays into quicksands over the past 50 years, this would be it."

    Walter Isaacson, New York Times
  • "Outstanding... Our Man is one of the most fascinating dissections of US power – its strengths and serious weaknesses – I’ve read."

    Steve Bloomfield, The Guardian
  • "Holbrooke in all his capacious brilliance and arrogance has been captured by George Packer… [Our Man] is, I strongly feel, a classic."

    Richard Cohen, Washington Post
  • "You may ask yourself, is it worth one of the best American non-fiction writers producing a book of just under 600 pages on an arrogant and abrasive egotist whose highest sustained rank in the State Department was that of a lowly assistant secretary? The answer is unabashedly yes. This is a remarkable work about a remarkable, if deeply flawed, statesman whose career was intimately intertwined with the 50 years of American decline from Vietnam to Afghanistan. Nearly all biographies have long, boring stretches you want to skip. This one has none… A fascinating and compulsive read."

    Jonathan Powell, Spectator
  • "Our Man is a great, exuberant read, gossipy and thoughtful, about a remarkable American diplomat who tried to place himself at the heart of some of the bloodiest, most intractable wars of our age: Vietnam, Bosnia and Afghanistan… Packer displays his talents as a master of narrative reconstruction."

    Roger Boyes, The Times
  • "Dazzling… an exploration of American decline that’s heartfelt, virtuosic and quietly thoughtful at the same time... Packer marshals a huge amount of material with great aplomb… His prose fizzes with almost Holbrookian levels of energy."

    James Walton, Telegraph
  • "[George Packer] is such a masterful narrator – and Holbrooke such a vexing subject to portray – that this story is both gripping and surprisingly pacey, its wheels greased by revealing excerpts from Holbrooke’s personal letters and the private reflections he recorded to tape. Added to this is Packer’s arresting thesis: that his brash but erudite and driven subject symbolises something about America’s engagement with the world following the Second World War that will never be recovered after Trump."

    John Bew, New Statesman
  • "Deeply researched, compellingOur Man is not just a portrait of a fascinating historical figure, it is a contemplation of a half century of US foreign and security policy and its most intractable challenges."

    Julian Borger, Observer
  • "Brilliant reporting… brave and intellectually honest… This is the kind of biography (massive, detailed) by the kind of author (respected, experienced) reserved for great books on great men."

    Adam B. Kushner, Washington Post
  • "[Packer] is such a masterful narrator – and Holbrooke such a vexing subject to portray – that this story is both gripping and surprisingly pacey, its wheels greased by revealing excerpts from Holbrooke's personal letters and the private reflections he recorded to tape. Added to this is Packer's arresting thesis: that his brash but erudite and driven subject symbolises something about America's engagement with the world following the Second World War that will never be recovered after Trump."

    John Bew, New Statesman

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